[CT Birds] Common Eiders in CT waters

David Provencher davidprovencher at sbcglobal.net
Fri Jan 8 16:35:07 EST 2010

I spent a little time scanning Long Island Sound from Ender's Island in
Mystic (at least 20 seals hauled out on the rocks), Stonington Point, and
briefly from the boat launch at Barn Island. Common Eiders were everywhere.
Conservatively I would say 50 off Ender's Island, another 100 off Stonington
Point, and maybe 50 visible from the Barn Island boat launch. This has got
to be the easiest year ever to find this species in CT. There were many
ducks too far out on the sound and in heat haze to call for sure but that
numbered in the many hundreds and certainly were likely to be at least
partly eiders. Common Loons were well represented as well with approximately
75 to 100 all told. About a dozen Red-throated Loons and 6 Horned Grebes
were also scattered about. With the freezing of fresh water there are now
many Hooded Mergansers along the coast with some flocks numbering 50+ birds.
I found a limited number of Surf Scoters (30 or so off Stonington Point) and
only 8 Long-tailed Ducks. Gulls were few and far between and I found no
alcids though conditions were excellent for finding small birds on the
water. I didn't stop this morning but there were at least 3,000 gulls on the
ice at Smith's Cove in Waterford, maybe I'll run down there tomorrow. There
were several Grackle flocks along Rte 1 in Mystic and a Swamp Sparrow at the
Barn Island boat launch. There also seems to be a very good number of Song
Sparrows around still as I found at least a dozen this morning. Lastly, for
any eastern CT listers, an adult Red-shouldered Hawk has been hanging around
the vicinity of the Preston Plains Middle School on Rte 164 in Preston.


One species that seems a little low in numbers on the eastern CT shoreline
this winter is Brant. Does anyone have an impression of their numbers to
date from central and western CT?


Dave Provencher

Naturally New England



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